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Ségrégation écologique au sein d’une communauté de delphinidés tropicaux : utilisation de l’espace et des ressources et fonctionnement social

Abstract : The study of communities and ecological segregation is of primary importance, especially for its contribution to the field of evolutionary biology and its applications to conservation. The present study aims to assess ecological segregation of tropical delphinids of the island of Mayotte (Mozambique Channel, SW Indian Ocean) at two scales: interspecies and intra-species level. Around Mayotte, a diverse community of delphinids can be found within a restricted range. Thirteen species have been recorded, among which five species regularly occur: the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus), the spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), the pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata), the melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) and the Fraser’s dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei). In species living in sympatry, segregation mechanisms should be observed along the three main dimensions of the ecological niche: habitat, resource and time. In inter-specific comparisons, analyses of habitat defined by physiographic variables at sighting locations, resource use expressed as carbon and nitrogen stable isotope signatures, and activity budgets revealed that each species occupies its own ecological niche. At the same time, sibling species form mixed-species associations that place them in situation of apparent competition for habitats. It has been shown that these mixed-species associations, especially among dolphins of the genus Stenella, do associate for anti-predator vigilance rather than for trophic benefits. Finally, the last approach of this study aims to investigate fine scale population structure and intra-species segregation in the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, the main delphinid occurring in the inner lagoon. The combination of approaches over temporal scales: from the genetic population structure to the community characteristics at individual life-scale (home range), showed that a single panmictic group of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins was segmented into communities (defined by a common home range). At least two bottlenose dolphin communities were found, using a common home range and within which genetically unrelated individuals are preferentially associated. The whole study underlines that ecological segregation can be observed inter- and intra-specifically in delphinids, and this segregation can only be assessed by using multi-scale and multidisciplinary approaches.
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Jérémy Kiszka. Ségrégation écologique au sein d’une communauté de delphinidés tropicaux : utilisation de l’espace et des ressources et fonctionnement social. Sciences agricoles. Université de La Rochelle, 2010. Français. ⟨NNT : 2010LAROS302⟩. ⟨tel-00555571⟩

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